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28th May 2006: Angelina Jolie Gives Birth to baby
"Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt"
LOS ANGELES -- In what was arguably the most anticipated delivery
in recent entertainment history, Angelina Jolie gave birth to Brad
Pitt's daughter Saturday in Africa, Pitt's publicist announced Saturday
"The night of May 27, 2006, in Namibia, Africa,
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt welcomed their daughter Shiloh Nouvel
Jolie-Pitt. No further information is being given," publicist
Cindy Guagenti said in a statement.
No photographs were being released, she added.
The baby's arrival had been the subject of intense
media speculation, compelling the superstar couple to decamp to
Africa for privacy.
The actors were linked romantically shortly after
appearing together in the 2005 movie "Mr. and Mrs. Smith."
Jolie, 30, is a frequent visitor to Africa and serves
as goodwill ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
She has two adopted children: toddler Zahara, from
Ethiopia, and 4-year-old Maddox, from Cambodia.
Both children had their surnames legally changed to
Jolie-Pitt after Pitt announced his intentions to co-adopt the children.
Pitt and Jolie are not married. He and actress Jennifer Aniston
divorced last fall.
Jolie, who won an Oscar for her supporting role in
1999's "Girl, Interrupted," is divorced from Billy Bob
Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller.
The government of Namibia went to extraordinary lengths
to try to protect Pitt and Jolie from the media as the couple awaited
the birth of their child in seclusion at a luxury resort on the
The Namibian Embassy in Pretoria told journalists
seeking visas that they had to have permission from Pitt and Jolie
in writing before they would be allowed into the country.
The government, which has seen its profile as a tourist
destination increased by the celebrity visit, arrested photographers,
confiscated film, set up large green barriers on the beach to shield
the couple and their children, ringed the hotel with heavy security
and threatened to expel any journalist trying to cover the birth
without the parents' permission.
"This lady is expecting," Namibian Prime
Minister Nahas Angula told South Africa's Sunday Times last month.
"You guys are harassing her. Why don't you allow her some privacy?
Harassment is not allowed in Namibia."
Interest escalated Tuesday when Pitt sent an e-mail
to the Cannes Film Festival, saying he was unable to attend because
of the baby's "imminent arrival."
Before Pitt and Jolie took up residence in Namibia,
the government had never required that journalists get permission
from private citizens -- foreign or otherwise -- to obtain a visa.
Darryn Lyons, chairman of Big Pictures, which runs
the Web site Mr. Paparazzi.com, said earlier this week he had a
team in Namibia, but that none of his photographers had been arrested.
He added someone -- perhaps even the midwife -- with a small camera
or one built into a mobile phone stood to make a lot of money.
"You could probably buy Namibia with that picture,"
he said, estimating the first picture of Pitt and Jolie's baby would
be worth $5 million.
18th November 2004: Greatest stories ever sold
A CYBER-BUSINESSMAN yesterday told how he helped recreate an ancient
library for Angelina Jolie's latest Hollywood blockbuster.
Kevin Roxburgh, who runs Saltney-based Egyptian Dreams,
near Chester, supplied 2 1/2 tonnes of papyrus for epic movie Alexander
the Great. Oliver Stone produced the film, which also stars Sir
Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell. The sandals and swords epic,
just released in America, is expected to reach British screens in
Kevin, married to wife Sabine with three step-daughters,
was asked by London's Pinewood film studios to produce authentic-looking
Kevin said: "It was unbelievable. The props manager
working on the film had been trawling the world looking for someone
who could supply, of all things, blank sheets of papyrus.
"It was the very first paper manufactured by
mankind, made from reeds growing at the side of the River Nile."
"He said he needed 200 sheets and could I send him some samples."
"A couple of weeks went by and I thought nothing was going
to happen. Then they telephoned with an order for 40,000 sheets.
Because of my contacts, I managed to source a supplier who could
still produce reed paper in this ancient way and meet their demand."
Kevin's Egyptian-made paper features in scenes set
in the Great Library of Alexandria. It was founded by Alexander's
general Ptolemy II who ruled Egypt in the third century BC.
The library was said to hold thousands of scrolls
and was often frequented by Aristotle, but was destroyed by a fire
during an attack on the city by Julius Caesar in 47 BC. The film
tells the story of Alexander, the Macedonian king who conquered
the then known world before his death aged just 33.
Kevin is looking forward to seeing the film. The 36-year-old
said: "I am just hoping to get an invite to the opening night.
Perhaps they will need some more papyrus to put the invites on.
Kevin set up his Flintshire internet business, run
from his home on Vyrnwy Road, in February last year. The former
IT specialist and website developer got fed up with his career and
decided a new direction was needed, based on his passion for Egyptology.
Source: Daily Post
17th November 2004: Alexander Premiers in Los Angeles
The cast of the epic Alexander gathered for the movie's premiere
in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie and Val
Kilmer turned out to support the film directed by Oliver Stone.
The film tells the tale of Alexander the Great, who conquered almost
all of the known world by the age of 25 and was dead by 33. Farrell
plays the military leader while Jolie plays his mother, despite
being just a year older than the Irish actor.
Talking about his character, Farrell said: "He
was everything. He was a contradiction in terms. You know, he was
soft, he was strong, he was gentle, he was ferocious, he was a complete
contradiction as a man."
Val Kilmer reunited with The Doors director Stone
for the film, in which he plays Alexander's father Philip. "We
had a great time working together 10 years ago -- it's 10 years
already - in The Doors," said Kilmer. "I'm so proud of
Colin Farrell, this is his best role so far and the whole cast is
Angelina Jolie plays Colin Farrell's mother in the
film. "And this was actually more fun to make for me because
I didn't have the pressure of playing the lead and all those responsibilities,
which are awesome.
Preparation for the film was rigorous, with many of
the actors undergoing intense physical training to get into shape
to play members of the invading armies.
Farrell said: "It was tough. It was a hard shoot
physically and emotionally. All the boys involved put themselves
on the line, and it was a blast."
Alexander cost a reported $150m (£80m) to produce
and follows on the heels of Troy, the epic movie starring Brad Pitt
as the Greek warrior based on Homer's The Iliad.
1st November 2004: What makes a leader?
perhaps the most sought-after quality at the moment and the
most elusive one that requires a tightrope walk between single-mindedness
and flexibility, hope and realism, teamwork and the willingness
to go it alone. The question of what makes a leader confronts us,
and not just because we will head to the polls Tuesday to choose
between two very different kinds of leadership President
George W. Bush's decisive, intuitive style and Sen. John Kerry's
measured, analytical approach. In recent years, the Enron debacle,
the sex-abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church and the horrors
of Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison have led us to wonder just how much
room there is at the top for competence, courage and compassion.
Not so coincidentally, culture has rushed in to fill
the void with visionaries from yesteryear exhibits on George
Washington and Alexander Hamilton at Manhattan's Metropolitan Museum
of Art and New-York Historical Society respectively; new biographies
of Washington and Napoleon nemesis Lord Horatio Nelson.
Meanwhile, reality TV is mining the executive suite
for weekly series. On Nov. 9, Fox launches "The Rebel Billionaire,"
with Virgin companies founder Richard Branson, to counter NBC phenom
"The Apprentice," Donald Trump's master class in management.
We won't, however, hit the leadership mother lode
until Nov. 24 when Oliver Stone releases "Alexander,"
with Colin Farrell as the Macedonian king whose conquest of the
Persian Empire disseminated Greek culture in the East and changed
the face of Western civilization. He was also arguably the finest
field commander the world has ever seen.
"We've been in a crisis of leadership for some
time now," says Partha Bose, author of "Alexander the
Great's Art of Strategy" (Gotham Books). "This is why
Alexander resonates today."
The fog of war..
Ask virtually any Alexander historian what made him
a great leader, and they will answer you the same way: "He
led from the front. He never asked his men to do anything he wouldn't
The examples from a legendary life (356-323 B.C.)
are legion: Alexander always seemed to be the first to charge up
some riverbank or scale a high wall. Laura Foreman, author of the
new "Alexander the Conqueror" (Da Capo Press), likes to
tell the story of Alexander's march in 325 B.C. across the grueling
Makran Desert (in present-day Pakistan), something no one had ever
accomplished before. At one point, some of Alexander's men found
a little water and brought it to their king so he could slake his
Instead, a grateful Alexander poured it into the searing
sand: If they could not drink, neither would he. Heartened, the
army continued its march, emerging from the desert after two months
but not without a terrible loss of life.
Why did he risk this challenge, and the welfare of
his men? The leader walks a fine line between fortitude and foolhardiness.
And what is heroic in one age, appears merely reckless in the next.
Indeed, observers say, it is not that we lack leaders
with the daring and skills of Alexander today, but that the landscape
of leadership has shifted from the hands-on autocracy of
an Alexander to high-tech democracy, in which those at the top are
often at a remove, and a disadvantage.
"When we think of leaders in battles today, we
think of them at command centers way back behind the front lines,"
says Jim Lindsay, producer and director of The History Channel's
"Alexander the Great" (8 p.m. Nov. 7). "Wars are
now fought in different ways. For all practical purposes, there
are no clear rules anymore. How do you advise soldiers how to recognize
the enemy when it could be an 18-year-old girl with explosives strapped
to her?...The battlefield has gotten foggy."
The vision thing...
But just because the rules of engagement have changed
on the battlefield and in the boardroom compounded by increasingly
intricate layers of technology and bureaucracy doesn't absent
the leader from accountability.
"It probably does make it more difficult,"
says Donald Trump of leading in a shifting landscape. "I am
fortunate to have a solid core group working for me, as I am very
much involved in all my businesses. This takes time and requires
patience, but it's worth it. Everyone reports to me, and no one
can remain 'uninvolved' or once-removed."
Nor do the changing rules of engagement mean that
we can't learn from history, observers say. And the lesson of history
is that there is no leader without first a dream, an idea that is
either a response to a current crisis or a plan for the future.
Think of Elizabeth I, forged in religious strife, presiding over
England's golden age; Gandhi, choosing the nonviolent path to India's
independence; Martin Luther King Jr. championing the content of
a person's character as the criterion for acceptance.
"You have to have confidence in your abilities,
your instincts, your vision," says Trump, who named the most
luxurious suite in the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City after Alexander
In an age when myths were real and kings could become
gods, Alexander envisioned himself as the new Achilles, striking
out for the East once more but this time for a prize greater than
Troy the Persian Empire and beyond.
But it's not enough to have a dream. You must persuade
others to share it.
"Great leaders instill great loyalty," Trump
"That was something that impressed me from the
get-go," filmmaker Lindsay says of Alexander, "how one
guy could get 40,000 other guys to follow him for 12 years for 20,000
miles. Talk about charisma."
The common touch...
Alexander had more than charisma. There was the well-trained
Macedonian army's appetite for glory and treasure; the Greeks' fear
of Persian aggression and desire to avenge past atrocities; his
youth, beauty and charm, crystallized into an iconic image. And
"What makes Alexander a great leader is the connections,"
author Bose says. "He could be seen hanging out with his generals,
planning pitch battles or visiting with his troops. He would call
out his men by name and remind them of battles in which they had
"He also expended resources on the army. He wasn't
cheap," says historian William M. Murray, one of the on-camera
experts in The History Channel's "Alexander the Great."
"The army was well-paid....The men went back home rich, which
is something we know from their tombs."
Alexander's bond with his men would be echoed at the
turn of the 19th century by British admiral Horatio Nelson, says
author Foreman, who co-wrote "Napoleon's Lost Fleet: Bonaparte,
Nelson, and the Battle of the Nile." "The basics of their
management style were so similar: Without people under you, you're
This is in sharp contrast, she says, to some of today's
managers, who are more interested in kissing up to their employers
than promoting their employees.
The true leader, observers say, is secure enough to
cultivate the talents of others.
"I try to hire people who are smarter than I
am, because if they do a great job, it will reflect on me,"
says author Bose, a former North White Plains resident who serves
as marketing director at the law firm of Allen & Overy in London.
Few leaders absorbed this lesson better than George
Washington, who mentored such brilliant young officers as Alexander
Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette and who combined such diverse
luminaries as Hamilton, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in his administration.
Alexander, too, had "excellent sub-officers,
five or six generals who would later emerge as kings," historian
Murray says. And he conferred real power on them. But he was also
something of a control freak, scouting locales, knowing what goods
and equipment were needed, planning battles down to the minutiae
and always keeping plan B at the ready. The leader, Murray says,
must strike the balance between Ronald Reagan's delegation of authority
and Jimmy Carter's mastery of detail.
Buoyed on a wire...
Perhaps the toughest balancing act of all, however,
is the one between concern for others and the need to remain somewhat
aloof. You can see this struggle in the Met's insightful "Gilbert
Stuart" show, as the determined face of Washington gives nothing
Historian Robin Lane Fox, adviser on the film "Alexander,"
says he spent time discussing the isolation of leadership with star
Farrell, who displayed what he calls "real Alexander style"
on the set commanding and fearless: "He said to me,
'You can have plenty of friends, but when you're set apart, you
can be lonely.'"
The movie star intuits what the leader soon learns
that when you belong to everyone, you risk belonging to no
And yet, the leader can't afford to lose touch with
his people and his origins, which many historians say happened to
Alexander as he became virtually omnipotent, farther removed from
the Macedon of his youth, more inured in his quest for the far horizon,
and more susceptible to the loss of those who had known and loved
Still, against all odds and the possibility of plummeting
into despair, the leader dances on the wire, buoyed by something
that has sustained leaders from the beginning.
It is the quality that accompanied Alexander on his
quest. Once when he gave away much of his booty, one of his men
asked him what he would be left with.
He replied simply, "My hopes."
28th October 2004: Luhrmann's Alexander is defeated
Baz Luhrmann's keenly anticipated "Alexander The Great"
film is now officially dead, according to his Australian friend
Nicole Kidman, who was supposed to co-star in it as Olympias.
"No!" Kidman says when asked if Luhrmann
was going to go ahead with the much-delayed project, which was going
to rival Oliver Stone's Alexander, due next month. In Stone's film,
Angelina Jolie plays Olympias to Colin Farrell's Alexander.
"I was too!" Kidman says when told that
viewers were eager to compare the two films and that many were more
intrigued by the possibilities of Luhrmann's vision.
Luhrmann, who used Kidman as his femme fatale in Moulin
Rouge, last worked with her on a spectacular, multimillionaire Chanel
ad in which she plays herself, a movie star escaping media hordes
in a Moulin Rouge-like fantasy setting.
Thanks to Tom for the heads up.
18th October 2004: Colin Farrell discusses playing
"I just felt very lonely and very sad," says Farrell of
taking on the character. "That [Alexander] never got to a place
of comfort, a place of joy, a place where he ever felt like he was
achieving enough. He was never surrounded by the love that he really
wanted, even though he was lauded and applauded and deified. He
may have worn it on the outside, but he never felt it on the inside."
Director Oliver Stone on casting Farrell as Alexander:
"I was looking for a young god, who could act .... An Alexander
who could walk into the room and look in the eyes of any man, and
he could move them to be beyond themselves." He continues,
"It's a combination of masculinity and, at the same time, beauty
and femininity. It's a beautiful balance if you can pull it off."
Co-star Angelina Jolie on how she thinks the role
helped Farrell: "[the tough role] helped him become more of
a man. I know it was hard, the hours were hard, and the physical
labor was hard, and he was allowing all his demons to come through
... but I was kind of secretly sitting in the corner, excited, happy
for his pain, knowing that it would make him grow."
Source: GQ Magazine
5th October 2004: Warner Bros. denies delaying
Alexander over gay scenes
After speculation that Warner Bros. were pushing back the release
date of Alexander because studio executives were skittish over gay
love scenes in the film between Colin Farrell (as bisexual conqueror
Alexander the Great) and Francisco Bosch (who plays Persian eunuch
Bagoas, thought by many historians to have been Alexander's lover),
Warner Bros. president of production Jeff Robinov wrote in an e-mail
to one reporter: "That is completely untrue. Warner Bros. Pictures
is proud of Alexander and thinks it is an exceptional piece of filmmaking.
We've moved the release date, as we said earlier, to position it
better for Academy consideration. We also want to allow ourselves
more time to complete some of its ambitious visual effects.... Any
speculation that the studio is trying to cut scenes from Alexander
based on their depiction of the sexual relationships of the lead
character is false and does not accurately represent the content
of the film, which portrays Alexander the Great as heroic and a
man of his time and culture."
5th October 2004: How did Alexander Die?
He conquered most of the known world and created the biggest empire
in ancient history. Yet Alexander the Great's sudden death at the
age of 32 has been a mystery for centuries. Some experts say he
died of malaria, others suggest a bout of typhoid caused by tainted
food, or chronic liver poisoning brought on by his bacchanalia.But
the latest theory suggests he was the victim of a plot by his wife,
Roxane. She is said to have poisoned him with what was then a little-known
toxin taken from the strychnine plant. The disclosure will intrigue
followers of a historical whodunnit which has fascinated scholars
down the ages. It may also prompt more interest in Alexander, who
is making something of a comeback in the form of two new Hollywood
films. Oliver Stone's movie Alexander the Great, starring Colin
Farrell and Sir Anthony Hopkins, is released next month. Another
blockbuster - with the same title - by Moulin Rouge director Baz
Luhrmann and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is expected in 2006.
The jealous wife theory is being propounded by Graham
Phillips, who believes Alexander was murdered by Roxane in revenge
for taking another wife or perhaps flaunting his homosexual lover,
Hephaestion, who also died in mysterious circumstances. He believes
Hephaestion and Alexander suffered the classic symptoms of strychnine
poisoning. Roxane was one of the few people who could have known
about the deadly derivative of the strychnine plant Strychnos nux
What little is known about Alexander's death starts
in Babylon, cultural capital of the ancient world, with a funeral
feast held in May in 323BC in honour of the late Hephaestion. Roman
historians suggest Alexander was gripped by pain before collapsing.
"The initial symptoms were agitation, tremors, aching or stiffness
in the neck, followed by a sudden, sharp pain in the area of the
stomach," Phillips says in his new book Alexander the Great:
Murder in Babylon. "He then collapsed and suffered excruciating
agony wherever he was touched. Alexander also suffered from an intense
thirst, fever and delirium, and, throughout the night, he experienced
convulsions and hallucinations. In the final stages he could not
talk. Ultimately, his breathing became difficult and he fell into
a coma and died.
Toxicologists at the University of California told
Phillips the symptoms fitted those of poisoning by strychnine. The
toxin came from a plant that at the time grew only in the Indus
valley, where Alexander had visited two years earlier with Roxane,
Professor Robin Lane-Fox of Oxford University, who
acted as the history consultant for Stone, is sceptical of claims
of Roxane's guilt. "Alexander had many old wounds, he travelled
in marshes riddled with malaria, he drank all night. He simply might
have had a seizure."
Source: The New Zealand Herald
1st October 2004: New Trailer
We've all seen the movie trailers floating around the Internet but
probably the best to date has appeared on the Coming Soon website.
View it here: http://comingsoon.net/news/topnews.php?id=6582
22nd September 2004: Release Date Changed?
Warner Bros. has pushed the opening of its Oliver Stone-directed
"Alexander" from Nov. 5 to Nov. 24, the Wednesday before
Thanksgiving. The move was confirmed by Dan Fellman, president of
domestic distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures, which is releasing
the film in the U.S. for Intermedia Films. When Oliver Stone showed
up at the San Sebastian Film Festival days ago to unspool his docu
"Looking for Fidel," the director told Daily Variety he
was working 100 hours a week editing "Alexander." Speculation
was that the date switch was partly to give Stone extra time to
lock his film, which features several sweeping battle scenes.
Fellman said the studio had a variety of reasons
for the date switch, but insisted Stone would have had the film
ready for the original date. More pressing reasons for the switch,
he said, was the fear it would be difficult to gain marketing momentum
amidst a blizzard of final campaign ads before the Nov. 2 presidential
election. Another consideration was a desire by WB to put the film
and performances by Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins
and Val Kilmer, in closer proximity to other Oscar contenders. "We
took a good look at the movie in rough form, and if it's not the
best film he's ever directed, it's close," Fellman said. "It
has a lot of Academy potential that will be enhanced by the change
in timing, and we will also have the ability to focus better on
an adult audience. Our advertising and publicity departments would
have had to compete against the elections, and you don't want to
lose to the presidential candidates." Fellman said he was confident
Stone will stay close to schedule and deliver the film with enough
time to properly screen it for critics. That would have been a closer
call with the Nov. 5 date.
The film had been expected to go head-to-head with
Pixar's "The Incredibles," and Fellman didn't regret avoiding
that battle. He noted that while the G-rated film would seem to
pose little competition for an R-rated film, Pixar offerings traditionally
dominate their opening weekends, with adults taking their kids to
the theater. "Alexander" now will square off against the
Fox drama "Flight of the Phoenix," the Revolution comedy
"Christmas with the Kranks" and the national rollout for
Miramax's "Finding Neverland." Fellman predicted other
pieces on the chessboard might move as a result of the date switch
for "Alexander," an epic that will clock in at around
two hours and 45 minutes and likely will bow on about 2,500 screens.
"Thanksgiving is traditionally a competitive period, but we've
given our marketing department a chance to be in the trenches longer
and work harder on the picture," Fellman said. "We'll
be ready to play in the big game." The move will affect the
overseas openings of "Alexander" in several territories,
including Germany and Latin America. Plans to open in those countries
in mid-November will be pushed back, since WB has always been guaranteed
first crack in the U.S.
3rd September 2004: Parsis up in arms against Oliver
MUMBAI: Hollywood director Oliver Stone's forthcoming movie, Alexander
, based on the life of the 4th century BC Macedonian king, has evoked
protests from an unusual quarter -the minuscule Zoroastrian diaspora.
Still from Oliver Stone's forthcoming film Alexander
The growing criticism against the use of the Zoroastrian holy symbol
called the ' Farohar ' (a winged figure) in the movie's promos being
aired in the US is slowly percolating down to Mumbai, where the
majority of the Parsis is based.
According to Mumbai-based Firuza Punthakee Mistree,
co-author of the book Zoroastrian Tapestry, unlike the western world,
the Parsis know Alexander as the accursed because he had murdered
the community's priests, destroyed fire temples and burnt down Persepolis,
the ancient capital of the Persian empire.
Asked Sam Billimoria, a California resident, "How
would Christians react if Genghis Khan or Atilla the Hun was shown
with the holy cross as the backdrop? From what I have seen from
the promo, Alexander's name on the Farohar symbol is very insulting
to the whole Zoroastrian community. I consider him an an exterminator
akin to Hitler. History condemns Hitler, yet glorifies Alexander."
Community members based in the US said the man spearheading
the protest was none other than music maestro Zubin Mehta, a Parsi
himself. On August 28, Mehta was a guest of honour at a function
organised by the Zoroastrian Association of California (ZAC) in
the city of Irvine, which is in the greater Los Angeles area. It
was here that the world-famous conductor informed the audience about
the "misleading" use of the Farohar symbol.
According to ZAC member Maneck Bhujwala, who was present
in the gathering, Mehta said that he had called Oliver Stone (who
knows him) and left a message for him and others connected with
the movie to remove the symbol immediately. "He urged all of
us to follow up on this and organise a huge protest about it,"
said Bhujwala in an e-mail to Times News Network.
Dhun Dalal, another ZAC member, said, "Zubin
had called me to tell me that he had seen the Farohar symbol behind
the name Alexander in the advertisement for the movie. At that time,
I had not seen the ad. He asked me if there was someone from our
community who would write a letter protesting this ad."
4th August 2004: Great Expectations - Oliver stone
vanquishes the competition, emerging on the boxoffice battlefield
It's late at night in Paris, early in July -- but as most frenchmen
are winding down for their annual summer break, France's newest
citizen, Oliver Stone, is maintaining a breakneck pace in the editing
room, struggling to ready his $150 million historical epic "Alexander"
for a Nov. 5 U.S. release through Warner Bros. Pictures. This is
the final march in a battle Stone has waged for more than a decade,
vanquishing competing projects, overcoming budgetary hurdles and
conquering logistical concerns including real war. "I'd say
I'm pretty happy we got through it alive," says an exhausted
Stone, who spends his days shuttling on the Chunnel train between
Paris and London. "We're halfway through the hard-editing process,
right in the middle, and everything is coming together," he
adds, sounding satisfied -- and relieved.
for the full article
25th July 2004: Alexander Music Preview
Sony Classical has just released a web-site for Vangelis' upcoming
soundtrack for Oliver Stone's "Alexander". The site, for
now, only displays
some graphics and allows you to join a mailing list, but the feature
get everyone excited is the first glimbse of Vangelis' new music,
be listened to in 3 different streaming formats.
The site is at www.alexandersoundtrack.com
23rd July 2004: Colin Farrell talks about Alexander
Farrell says that the Oliver Stone-directed epic, will present the
legendary Alexander the Great in a fair light, including his own
bisexuality. "You know he's bi-sexual and that's all you really
even need to know. However, you don't even need to know that because
there was no term for sexuality back then in respect to categorizing
it as homosexuality, bisexuality, or heterosexuality. It was a time
when men and men laid together and shared knowledge and women primarily
had babies. But later on in life, as we got more technologically
and sociologically adept, we started to put titles on everything.
We decided for the few what was right or wrong or the few decided
for the multitude what was right or wrong."
Farrell says that in Alexander, his private life will
certainly be out there, however, "It's hard to have a private
life when you're a king, but his personal life, for sure, is touched
on, but not in a way that highlights it," Farrell explains.
"I'll tell you one thing, anything that was needed for Oliver
to tell a story the way that he intended it to be told is not taken
out as a result of, again, appeasing the people or being afraid
of what people won't be able to handle."
Farrell says that working on Alexander was his toughest
work experience to date. "You're playing Alexander, which was
just a life with so much loss, ambition, destiny, so many questions
and very few answers. It was physically, emotionally, psychologically
draining and there was so much philosophical thought, feeling and
pain that went into it. For my money, it's a pretty sad story. It's
not 'Alexander the Great, TADA!', but a pretty sad, heavy story."
The toughness of making Alexander had as much to do
as the demands placed on him by director Oliver Stone. "Oliver
definitely demands a different respect as each human demands a different
way of trying to pull them out of themselves and dance with him.
Oh man, he was very honest with me from day one, very tough and
he should've been."
Tough, Farrell says, "in the brutality of his
At the same time, when he told you that was a great
take, you knew it was a great take. He didn't dance around the truth,
thank God, and there are not enough people in the world that has
the brutal honesty that he has."
14th July 2004: Stone Wins Alexander Race - Or
Contrary to published reports, Baz Luhrmann has not--repeat not--pulled
the plug on his big-budget historical biopic on the Macedonian conquerer--at
least not yet. London's Daily Telegraph reported that Luhrmann decided
to scrap the flick because he wanted to take a year off and spend
more time with his production designer wife, Catherine Martin, and
their new daughter, Lillian, born last October. The story was subsequently
picked up by the New York Post.
However, disputing those accounts, Luhrmann's Australia-based
rep, Maria Farmer, said the filmmaker has not scuttled Alexander
and is still firming up plans for his next cinematic outing.
"Baz is currently in Europe working on the final
draft of his script for Alexander the Great. When he completes that
draft he will decide whether Alexander is the next film on his slate,"
Farmer told E! Online. "We do not know where these reports
have originated from. They certainly did not come from Baz."
A coproduction of Universal Pictures and DreamWorks,
Alexander the Great is supposed to star Leonardo DiCaprio as the
boy king and Nicole Kidman as Alexander's mother, Olympia. It had
been scheduled to start shooting this spring in the director's native
Australia and hit theaters sometime in 2005.
Ever the perfectionist, Luhrmann had already postponed
shooting on the film once, opting not to rush work on the film simply
to "be drawn into a race," as he put it to the Los Angeles
Times last year.
The initial delay ensured that a competing project
from Warner Bros. and helmer Oliver Stone, simply titled Alexander,
would be the first one into production. That film, budgeted at $150
million and starring Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie and Anthony Hopkins,
is scheduled for release on Thanksgiving.
Luhrmann had scouted locations in Jordan, and producer
Dino De Laurentiis signed a deal with Morocco's King Mohammed VI
to build three soundstages there in exchange for the king putting
more than 4,000 soldiers and 8,000 horses at Luhrmann's disposal.
But after a series of suicide bombings in Casablanca in May 2003,
Luhrmann opted to shoot Down Under as a safeguard against terrorism.
The filmmaker forged ahead with preproduction, beginning
work on the flick's digital effects, filming some background shots
in the Himalayas, and even shooting a promo reel, featuring DiCaprio
in full gladiator garb, to hype Alexander the Great at last year's
Cannes Film Festival.
In an article last year, however, Variety hinted that
Luhrmann was considering shelving Alexander the Great and taking
on another project instead. Much of that decision hinged upon the
latest draft of the script by David Hare, which was delivered in
February, and which Luhrmann working on right now.
The New York Post, meanwhile, reported that Kidman
was "downhearted" about the cancellation.
DiCaprio's rep, Ken Sunshine, had no comment on the
report. Despite shooting the preview footage, the Titanic star reportedly
has yet to sign a contract. DiCaprio, who recently finished filming
on Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, will next segue into The Good
Shepherd, a historical film about the CIA to be directed by Robert
De Niro. So even if Luhrmann were able to get things moving again
with Alexander, he'd have to find time in Leo's ever-busy schedule
or find another actor.
Luhrmann is best known for his "Red Curtain trilogy"--1992's
Strictly Ballroom, 1996's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet and
2001's Oscar-nominated Moulin Rouge!
12th July 2004: Stone Wins Alexander Race
The race to make the big Alexander the Great biopic is off. Baz
Luhrmann, the Australian director of "Moulin Rouge," has
called off his epic, which was to have starred Nicole Kidman and
Leonardo DiCaprio. The Daily Telegraph in London reports Luhrmann
decided to take a year off following following the birth of his
daughter Lillian last October. But Baz was way behind Oliver Stone,
whose "Alexander" starring Colin Farrell, Angelina
Jolie, Val Kilmer and Anthony Hopkins is due out in November.
Kidman, meanwhile, is said to be "down-hearted" at losing
18th May 2004: Charging for Alexander - BBC4 Interview
with Robin Lane Fox
BBC Four: Was your experience on the film set what you expected?
Robin Lane Fox: No. I had a vision of one vast cavalry charge involving
a whole army that might be repeated two or three times. I hadn't
realised the relatively short chunks of action into which filmmakers
have to break down each scene. I certainly didn't understand the
extreme skill in intercutting and arranging all the various pieces
in Oliver's jigsaw. Secondly, I had confidence in my ability to
sit on a horse but I found the initial riding taxing in ways I hadn't
anticipated. The lances we were using, which were all historically
researched and based on war paintings of the Macedonian cavalrymen,
were initially a bit heavier and trickier than I had expected. I
also had not really thought of such basic problems that if one's
helmet is made in standard size, rather than the customised ones
the stars had, and you are galloping flat out, it is quite likely
that first time round it will fall in front of your eyes so you
can't really see where you're going. However, by the time I got
used to it, I was unstoppable!
BBC Four: How did the professional riders in Oliver
Stone's cavalry react to the presence of an Oxford don in their
RLF: They were thrilled. The expert stunt riders were willing to
take me on sufferance. Stunt riders sit on horses and treat them
like motor bikes. The stuntmen on the ground are pathological about
horse accidents because they don't ride themselves. The really wonderful
riders were the Spanish riders and many of the Moroccan Main Cavalry.
It was assumed that if you were in the film you were up to their
BBC Four: As an academic, what were your impressions
of the blockbuster movie making process?
RLF: Films have to be compromises. Everything has to be told rapidly
and you can't go into extreme detail. But we had teams of armourers
and textile makers all around the world. Unbelievably they were
doing it from 1 June to 1 September. If any university in Britain
or America had been asked to coordinate the making of historically-based
replicas for over 2,000 people in four months they would have got
as far as the initial paperwork empowering the health and safety
officers to come and see it. Given that, I now understand the speed
and commitment and love with which everybody works and it is tremendous.
BBC Four: What were the hardest questions that Stone
asked you as an historian?
RLF: The most difficult questions concerned Aristotle. He was determined
to try to represent Alexander's tutor, the great Aristotle, as accurately
as possible. Oliver was keen to know Aristotle's views on the gods
and the myths. I was certainly stretched by that and he did a lot
to improve my understanding of Aristotle, which was pretty limited
before. Otherwise, the most difficult things were the everyday things
like how do Greeks blow their noses. Historians work with the evidence
they have and they observe where there are gaps and sometimes they
may guess beyond them. But their questioning is guided by the evidence.
A filmmaker is guided by the need to visualise, whether there is
direct evidence or not.
8th May 2004: Robin Lane Fox - Into Battle with
Oliver Stone is turning the deeds of Alexander the Great into a
sword and sandals epic. Historian Robin Lane Fox agreed to advise
on period detail just as long as he could lead the cavalry.
Big movies are notorious for trampling on history; I have just given
the years biggest movie the chance of trampling on a historian.
In November, Oliver Stones film about Alexander the Great
will burst on the world. I have been the films historical
adviser and in September last year I galloped on my stallion across
the Moroccan desert at the head of Olivers cavalry charge.
We were filming the battle of Gaugamela, Alexanders greatest
victory over the Persians.
Both advising and acting roles came as a result of my book about
Alexander and my lifelong study of him. Charging across the desert
gave me a unique opportunity for some first-hand historical research.
Can we really understand the horse-bound charges which were essential
to Alexanders famous victories if we have never tried to carry
one out? It was also a fantasy and spectacularly good fun.
||Alexanders appeal lies in his youth, his feat of overthrowing
an ancient empire and the mystery of aims and ideals which were
never finally expressed before his death, aged 32. He was the
most powerful man in his world at an age when most of us are
still being sat on by our elders. He had a strong sense of his
close relationship to the gods, encouraging the idea that he
was the begotten son of Zeus. In my view, he set out to reach
the eastern edge of the inhabited world. Like his great tutor,
Aristotle, he had seriously underestimated its extent. Tutorials
back in Greek Macedonia had persuaded him that the world ran
out in northwest India. His men refused to go on, but he returned
to visit a supposed southern edge of the world at the mouth
of the River Indus and probably to aim for a western edge beyond
the Strait of Gibraltar. If he had lived, we would have been
spared the ghastliness of the next global power, the Romans.
The late André Malraux, that beacon of French educated
culture, once told me that he admired young Alexander because
at least he had the courage to die of his vices.
Stone is not the first director to be attracted to
Alexander, or the first to come to me for help. Back in 1974 I found
myself in London, at the Ritz, discussing plans for an Alexander
movie with Gregory Peck, dressed in one of those famous white suits.
He fancied himself as Alexanders father, Philip, the man who
knew how it had all begun. Twentieth Century Fox were willing to
finance it, but sadly the great man died first and the torch passed
to Time Life films instead.
In autumn 1977 they embarked on their script for a
major Alexander series to be broadcast as docudrama
round the world with a budget of tens of millions of dollars. In
their wisdom, they chose a director, unknown in Europe, who was
most famous for a film on the prisons of the American South. Our
meeting in Oxford was not a great success. It was not just that
the Randolph Hotel served him with green-coloured potato chips;
it was that his main interests were the drugs supposedly taken by
Alexander and the great mans meeting with the High Priest
of the Jews. In fact, there is not a shred of evidence that Alexander
took any recreational drug, except quantities of wine. His meeting
with the High Priest in Jerusalem is a pure fiction, invented about
200 years after his death.
After spending several million dollars, Time Life
scaled down the project and turned it into a superficially scripted,
Three years later, just as a tutorial on early Sparta
was coming to an inconclusive close in my Oxford college rooms,
Steven Spielbergs producers rang up to tell me with excitement
how Alexander had dreamt his way from the farm to conquer
the world by the age of 25.
Steven really gets this youth thing in history,
they told me, and he wants you to do a treatment of the childhood
theme. I took it on only as an escape route from tutorials,
but before I could finish Steven struck first and sent me a telegram:
Have decided to get out of youth. Alexander is off. Steven.
By 2001 three major projects were said to be in the
air, but I was half relieved that none of them had given me a workout
again. The huge television company HBO was rumoured to be budgeting
up to $200 million for a series on Alexander, directed by Mel Gibson,
who would play King Philip himself and preside over a script which
was believed to be full of sodomy and filthy language. Instead,
he filmed Jesus on the Cross with violence and in Aramaic. The elderly
Dino Di Laurentiis was talking expansively about his plans for the
big movie, casting the effete Leonardo DiCaprio as Alexander. The
press were full of him, with only a few allusions to the parallel
plans of the controversial Stone.
Two years later, it is Stone who has won and has closed
the lid on an extraordinary 16 weeks filming. The mood of
movies starts from the top and is either hellish or heavenly. I
have talked to all the participants and been one of them, and I
have to say that for all of us, Alexander has tended to the heavenly
end of the scale. It still has to be cut and who knows what the
public taste will be after the release of Wolfgang Petersens
film about Troy? But I have seen the uncut dailies and I promise
you, you are all in for a memorable treat.
When Stone invited me to London two years ago to discuss
Alexander with him, perhaps I should have asked for millions of
dollars and a film credit for my book. No doubt he would have found
somebody else to advise him among the dozens of more prudent historians
who also engage with this subject around the world. Before our meeting,
however, I had arranged my priorities in case the relationship went
well. I decided to ask for two rewards: a place in the first 15
of every major cavalry charge to be filmed in Alexanders company
and the words and introducing in front of my name in
Even Stone was taken aback by this request. He pointed
out that and introducing would be impossible because
there is a professional hierarchy in such matters. My request to
ride in the cavalry charge caused him consternation too, until I
assured him that I have ridden for 45 years and risked every bone,
still unbroken, in my body in the yearly pursuit of English foxes.
There would be health and safety problems, he hardly needed to tell
me, but, OK, Ill tell them to do it, if I possibly can
. . . well have a rebel on horseback . . . youre mad;
youre a cross between Peter Sellers and Ian Fleming.
Has any cavalryman ever gone off to mock-battle with
such a pedigree? A rebel on horseback... Only now do
I discover the allusion lurking in those words. In the early 1980s
Stone made his name with his first great film, Salvador, which ended
with an emotional scene of his left-wing guerrilla heroes galloping
on horseback against an array of repressive American tanks. It was
too much for some of the critics, but now he had his chance to redress
the political balance. He could send an Old Etonian on horseback
through the dust clouds in pursuit of a mirage of antiquitys
We embarked on what would become a thrice-weekly quiz
game late at night. Hollywood and Oxford University are in different
time zones, and so after his lunch Stone would ring me in the evening
in the Cotswolds and bombard me with questions, not many of which
I could answer.
Did Alexanders men ever eat melons? What did
Aristotle really think about the ancient myths? What did the main
god of Babylon look like? Alexanders Macedonia was Greek,
but what would his Greek language sound like to other educated ears
further south in Athens? Should his star, Colin Farrell, have blond
highlights in his hair? Alexander had a sexual nature, but as the
film, correctly, was not going to turn him in to a gay
from a counter-culture, how should his passionate life be handled?
My colleagues told me that for historians, Stone was supposed to
be like Satan, perhaps because they had seen his film of Nixon and
I had not. Like the poet John Milton, I have to say I quickly became
very fond of Satan. Anyway, the claim that Stone has no historical
sense is completely untrue.
I was stretched, as he was, by constant consultations
which were concerned to do as much justice as possible to the little
evidence which we have.
Then out in Morocco, in the heat of mid-September,
it was time to begin my cavalry career. I wont give away too
much of the BBC Four documentary that recorded the events on set,
but I can reveal that my military trainer was the fabled Captain
Dale Dye, best known for teaching the two Natural Born Killers Micky
and Mallory in Stones notorious film. On set, the Captain
wears a T-shirt, stating Pain is weakness leaving the body.
It is a message guaranteed to terrorise a natural-born shirker from
Oxford. But it was I, not he, who got on the horse and led the cavalry.
He was photographed only on a camel at a slow walk.
Through clouds of dust, out there in the desert, I
solved old scholarly questions: whether Alexanders cavalrymen
had shields (they did not), whether they could lance an unprotected
enemy through the chest (I experimented and proved it with the willing
Ibrahim) and whether they could pull out a lance from a body after
death (they could, if they lanced a man in the shoulder, as I lanced
a major star who spoke French).
But what the footage shows is only the beginning of
an orgy of charging which later took me to Thailand and pitted me
with bare legs against Stones elephants. In a dust cloud,
horses are as stressed as men; it is also impossible for men ten
paces behind a leader to see him when he signals a turn to left
or right. The key people are the men immediately in front and on
either side. Just like the little band of soldiers in Stones
own masterpiece, Platoon, set in Vietnam.
I have to say that I would have died for Colin Farrell
by the end, a loyalty which was widely shared. In Bangkok, in a
darkened hotel room, we sat watching uncut dailies of the final
emotional scenes of Stones film-to-be; the company were all
male and muscular, but I could not stop myself from sobbing in the
closing moments. Fortunately, another man could be seen in combat
trousers sitting on the floor and doing the same and when the lights
came on I saw that it was Farrell, equally transported by the evocation
of the great Alexander whom he had had to bring to life.
Since then I have been offered a cavalry part in the
proposed film of Hannibal. Naturally, I have refused, in disgust.
Once you have charged for Alexander, how could you possibly charge
for a one-eyed Carthaginian bandit who wandered for seven years
around Italy before going to bed with any Italian woman at all
and then she was a tart?
I am happy to continue in my desert mirage of fantasy,
but to return to reality I am forcing myself to re-read The Aeneid
in Latin, reflecting that if Alexander had lived we would have been
spared its existence.
17th April 2004: Angelina Jolie speaks about her
"It's a strange thing. I'm Alexander's mother when he's seven
and then he grows up, but I'm still his mother when Alexander is
played by Colin, so they aged me. It was a bold choice for Oliver,
because some people thought it was crazy, and at the same time Oliver
believes it's the spirit of the person that should match the character.
I hope he's right."
15th April 2004: Interview with Alexander Dance
Choreographer - Piers Gielgud
Choreographer Piers Gielgud gives an Interview to Carol Straker
from Dance On Film News:
Carol: You performed in James Ivory's 'The Golden Bowl' in 2001
(shot in 2000). Did you get a taste for working on feature films
from that project?
Piers: Definitely. It wasn't my first film, but it
was only through a lucky accident that I was in it at all. I stopped
dancing in 1993 (after 11 years) when I was 32, however the choreographer
was Karole Armitage who is one of my Idols, and I insisted on going
to the casting at Re.Animator Management which is run by my wife
Suzanne. I'd been told it was a character/mime part so I arrived
in a suit and tie. Of course it was all dancing. Karole first set
a complicated routine of turns and jumps, and then had me improvise
an aggressive duet with Stephen Hughes (this was when he was still
one of the finest contemporary dancers in the UK, before my wife
turned him into a Musical Theatre God). I felt very stupid (everyone
else was in dance gear) but I got the job. I learned a lot from
Karole. Every day she was fully prepared but if something spontaneous
happened in the studio she went with it, and I think the results
were fabulous. I was also a bit disappointed with what ended up
in the film, but this taught me a valuable lesson that film choreography
has to be totally objective and functional and above all disposable.
It has to fit in with what the director wants; otherwise it's no
use to anybody. Golden Bowl was also very hard work. In all the
sequence was about 10 minutes with lots of lifts, jumps and a big
fight at the end. We were called for 6am and were wrapped at 10pm.
I can't remember how many times we did it but by the time we finished,
all of us were shattered.
Carol: You have Choreographed two feature films which
are due out in 2004 - Alexander for Oliver Stone, and Being Julia
for Istvan Szabo. What do you think you bring to those projects
from a choreography point of view?
Piers: Until I see the finished films it will be hard
to see if I've done anything for either of them. I try to avoid
looking at rushes to avoid the disappointment of seeing my work
cut to ribbons in the final version, which it usually is. There
is only a small amount of dancing in Being Julia (waltzing at a
garden party) and I think Istvan (Szabo) thought he wouldn't need
a choreographer, so I was brought in at the last minute when he
realised he did (I'd like to see someone try and make a film without
a director!). I had to teach two of the principals - Jeremy Irons
and Leigh Lawson - how to waltz convincingly. They worked hard and
both had superb partners (west end dancers Lauren Brooke and Frankie
Wedge) so I thought they both looked quite convincing. I think I
did a reasonably good job and I hope it gives something to the finished
Alexander, by complete contrast, has a lot of dancing
in it. Oliver (Stone) decided to emphasise two of the film's pivotal
scenes with big dance numbers, so the choreography was substantially
more significant than it had been for (Being) Julia. In addition
there was a lot of background dancing to deal with. I only worked
on Julia for 1 week, but I worked on Alexander from the beginning
of July to the end of December 2003. I had to do a lot of research
for authenticity (dancing from Macedonia, and around the vast Persian
Empire back in 350BC - I'm basically a ballet man but for film you
must be able to do anything you are asked). I also had to collaborate
closely with the 'Oscar winning' composer Vangelis who is fabulous
to work with. All his music for Alexander is incredible. I think
it will eclipse anything he has done before. Working with him on
the music for the dances was a unique and altogether mind blowing
experience. Oliver is also a dream to work with. He knows exactly
what he wants and how to go about getting it. It's a true collaboration.
He works very closely with you and he values your opinion and input.
He also has an uncanny method of making you want to do your very
best for him. The script is extraordinary (remember that Oliver's
first Oscar was for screenwriting) and the fact that he has placed
so much emphasis on dance, leads me to believe that the choreography
could make a significant contribution to the finished film. I certainly
think that Oliver got some of my very best work from me.
Carol: Alexander has a huge dance cast. How long did
it take to get everyone together before shooting?
Piers: It felt like forever! My first job on joining
the production was to help the Casting Director, Lucinda Syson,
find the two main characters that dance. Most difficult to find
was the eunuch Bagoas who had to be an androgynous 17-year-old boy
of extraordinary beauty, as well as being an amazing dancer, who
could act. Lucinda had been searching for months, looking at both
male and female actors, dancers, models, transsexuals, real eunuchs
etc. but to no avail. My wife Suzanne suggested the Spanish ENB
dancer Francisco Bosch, who she'd recently signed. We both coached
him on his dialogue and I choreographed a solo for him, which he
performed for Oliver in his office. Oliver was blown away and Francisco
was virtually offered the part on the spot. The part of the Princess
Roxane was too difficult an acting role for the dancers we submitted,
and it eventually went to the actress Rosario Dawson who is fortunately
a gifted amateur dancer. Suzanne went on to cast all the remaining
dancers in Alexander but because of the other films with dancers
going on at the same time, very few people were available. I only
had a full cast together literally by the first day of rehearsal
on each occasion. I was very lucky in that all the dancers I got
to work with were truly amazing. I like to work with the same people
when I can, and now I'm seriously spoilt for choice. There was a
very magical atmosphere on Alexander - it's going to be a tough
act to follow.
Carol: It's a great time to be a choreographer working
in Cinema, with films like Bye Bye Birdie and The Company coming
soon. Are you excited about the opportunities being generated for
dancers on film at the moment?
Piers: Definitely (have either of them booked a choreographer
yet?) but I am also concerned. Suzanne and I have had to work very
hard to make sure that our dancers are treated properly on Films.
Dancers are frequently kept waiting for ages in the freezing cold
before being asked to dance full out with no breaks between takes.
They're rarely given a class or a warm up. They are usually expected
to dance on surfaces that are dangerous, and have to avoid dangerous
objects (on one film recently, a group of dancers had to negotiate
a herd of terrified sheep!). It's a miracle the injury rate isn't
higher. Most of the time they are treated like extras, which is
completely unacceptable. I'm a qualified Health and Safety officer
(Nerd alert!) and I was able to do Risk Assessments for the Alexander
dancing scenes, which were fully implemented by the production.
Suzanne and I are currently working with Equity on a dancers' film
contract that should iron out all these problems in the future.
We've asked all our dancers who've done a film in the last year
to contribute by completing a questionnaire regarding their treatment
and the conditions they were asked to work under. Most of the Alexander
dancers, however, said that it was the most amazing job they've
ever done, and I do believe that it is great experience for dancers
to work on feature films and to work with great men like Oliver
Stone. Personally I find film choreography the most rewarding of
all, and I'm glad that so many films want to feature dancers right
now. I hope it stays that way for a long time.
Reprinted courtesy of Dance On Film News -
(c) Carol Straker Dance Foundation - http://www.constellation-change.co.uk
21st February 2004: Angelina Jolie talks about
She says she's most excited about "Alexander", of the
movies she has in the pipeline. Her role (Alexander's mom): "I
age to 52, and strangely enough - and maybe to Colin (Farrell)'s
credit as an actor - he plays young and I play older. It didn't
feel weird at all. We were very connected to some very intense scenes.
Somehow, it's the essence of the story. Olympias is wild. She's
quite strong and quite...dark. She's an extreme, ruthless character,
and yet I LOVED her".
On Oliver and Co.: "I love Oliver. Whether you
agree with him or not, he just has a very strong, clear mind. He
is somebody who has lived a very amazing life. He actually understands
battle and life and death and friendship and loss and family and
brotherhood and country more than most people in this business.
We all sat around, me, Colin, Oliver, and Val Kilmer, and we've
all been picked on so much as a group. We're READY for shots to
be taken! Somebody said, "For a period piece, what a weird
group". But if you think about it, the Greeks, they were a
wild bunch, so it's not that crazy".
On Colin (traveled with her and her son Maddox to
Egypt for Christmas holiday): "The three of us woke up Christmas
morning and went on camels and saw the pyramids and then spent a
few days just exploring Egypt and going to the desert and sleeping
outside. (Right now it's a friendship, but) the press leaves no
room for the idea that you would consider one day MAYBE dating.
There's no room for that. We both wanted to see Alexandria and Egypt.
He's wonderful. He's a great guy...we're similar, but, like me,
he's not out to get anybody. He's quite open and nice".
16th February 2004: Film Damaged
New movie Alexander has been thrown into disarray after director
Oliver Stone discovered he shot the final scenes on damaged film.
The Natural Born Killers film-maker - who has been shooting the
movie in the Far East with Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie - will
now have to go back and re-shoot the scenes after he discovered
they were unusable when he viewed the rushes in Uban, Thailand.
Stone had originally shot the final scenes of his movie in Bangkok,
but thinks the film was damaged when it went through airport checks
before being delivered.
27th January 2004: Production Details
- A staggering 20,000 costumes have been designed. The film's armorers
created 9,000 arrows, 3,000 shields, 3,000 swords, 4,000 bows, 200
cavalry lances and 350 axes and club.
- Producer John Kilik says "In Morocco, we had close to 1,000
soldiers provided as extras by the army. We have a crew of about
120 here in London, but in Morocco it was up to about 500. We had
2,000 people, and 120 horses. We'd have two units going, one with
five cameras, the other with three, and Oliver going back and forth"
- Farrell speaks on-screen in a softer version of his own strong
Irish accent and many of the actors cast as his allies are Irish
or English. This was deliberate policy on Stone's part: "These
men were Macedonians, not cultivated Greeks, and it seemed to me
they occupied a similar position that the Irish and Scots did to
English in the British Empire"
- Stone says:"One thing that comes out in this film is that
the Olympic gods start to lose their hold on man. Mankind goes toward
Christianity, that comes 300, 400 years later, but men start to
look for personal salvation as opposed to the Olympic gods, who
weren't enough. Alexander shows you that man can do it, become the
highest reflection of gods".
- One scene shot in London was the entry into Babylon of Alexander
and his Macedonian comrades, who are greeted warmly. But a member
of the city's ruling family is concerned about how they will be
treated by these invaders, and Alexander speaks to her reassuringly.
The set is described as "a huge space
with pillars, columns, fountains and real hanging plants, imported
from Holland. The costumes of the extras, representing half a dozen
nationalities, are so vivid that at first glance it can give one
a sense of visual overload".
Source: Los Angeles Times
21st January 2004: Set report from Thailand
"We had our first full day of shooting yesterday and it was
hella long, plus the moccasins we wear for our costumes are not
Nike Airs so our feet hurt like a motha. It is cool but no joke,
we worked 20 hours yesterday."
"We left the hotel at 3:45 am for the set and right before
we left Colin [Farrell] rolled in with a few buddies and one of
them had a beer bottle in his hand, definitely coming in from the
night before." As for Colin's part in the filming; he was spotted
with two others riding horseback just coming up to see what was
going on but he did not shoot.
As far as what they were shooting we got word that it was four separate
scenes. Shooting is taking place in a jungle like setting in the
Udon Thani province in Thailand. The ground is covered in leaves
and the cast and ground is consistently sprayed down with a fire
house to create that "tropical" effect. Also amidst the
forest are several fog machines and a drummer some 50 yards away
beating a large drum every 5-10 seconds.
The first scene "was of all of us [Alexander's army] lined
up in army formation on a hill that was slowly rising up behind
us, and our commander was in front and was pacing back and forth
and said, 'you will hit them with your left...and then hit them
with your right,' in a very deep English accent."
A second scene was very similar to the first but covering the left
flank of the formation, and the third scene is a little more intense
as it focuses on what are called choppers, which our insider is
one of and the head commander yells out, "Bring the assault
teams forward!" Then the battle captain yells, "Choppers,
prepare your blades. Follow me!"
Our insider reports that, "The choppers are an assault team
that attacks elephants. Each elephant has a guard at each leg to
keep him from being attacked, so the first four guys in the assault
team are to attack these four guys and the second four guys have
no shields but have long hooked blade weapons tied to their hamstrings
and they gut the elephant."
He described it as "fog everywhere, a creepy battle drum, and
a US Marine Corp. captain yelling orders to an army of guys with
medieval weapons. No joke, Oliver [Stone] hired a USMC advisor to
run the extras and be the military advisor."
The fourth scene they shot "was when our battalion is ordered
to lower our spears then a horn sounds signaling our troops that
we are being attacked from behind, half the troops steady and half
turn to fight."
As for what they are wearing he said, "I am wearing a burlap
sac with arm and head holes cut in it along with a burlap pair of
undies. I have an arched short sword and a big silver shield. Most
of us have to wear hair pieces so that we have locks hanging out
our helmets, mostly black but with blonde streaks, they also made
us shave our legs."
The piece of land they are shooting on is reportedly 20-30 acres
and they will stay there until approximately the 31st when they
will move about 5 hours northwest to continue the shoot. The scenes
are supposedly the battles that went on in India and so far the
only warriors shot have been the Macedonians.
20th January 2004: Closed Set in Thailand
Oliver Stone has summoned 20 armour-clad elephants and hundreds
of actors to central Thailand to shoot scenes for his latest epic,
Alexander. But apparently the writer-director doesn't want anyone
else around. "It's a closed set," said publicist Michael
Singer. "It's to allow the production to go ahead without distractions."
With few exceptions, the media has been barred from visiting the
set of the film about Alexander the Great, which stars Colin Farrell
as the Macedonian conqueror. Furthermore, cast members said they'd
been warned not to take their own photographs of a battle scene
being filmed this week in Lopburi province, 115 kilometres north
of Bangkok. "We've been warned that if Oliver sees us with
a camera, he'll storm over, stomp all over the camera and personally
escort you off the set," said one actor. The team is shooting
scenes in which Alexander confronts an Indian king, Porus, during
his invasion of India in 325 BC. More filming is planned in northeastern
Ubon Ratchathani province in coming weeks.
18th January 2004: A World to Conquer
"Let's go, guys!" he yells cheerfully to no one in particular,
clapping his hands as some 200 extras, dressed variously as Macedonian
soldiers, Indians, Persians and skimpily dressed Babylonian women,
scurry into position. Eccentrically, Stone has chosen to wear a
wide-brimmed hat (indoors!) to complement his sports shirt and chinos.
He's flashing his gap-toothed smile a lot. Clearly he's in an ebullient
It's understandable. Stone has long wanted to make a film about
the military conqueror Alexander the Great (356-323 BC), who in
his 32 years created the most stupendous empire the world had seen,
stretching from the Balkans to the Himalayas, and including what
is now Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Iraq
and Pakistan. "I started talking about this in 1989, when the
German producer Thomas Schuehly approached me," Stone recalls.
But when making a film of Alexander's life finally became feasible,
he was not alone in wanting to do it."
After the success of Gladiator a couple of years ago, sword-and-sandals
epics suddenly seemed viable for the first time in 40 years. And
the story of Alexander the Great was clearly the one to bring to
the screen. At one point, it seemed there might be three competing
biopics confusingly, all earmarked to be made in Morocco.
Martin Scorsese was briefly reputed to be interested, while Italian
producer Dino de Laurentiis had plans for an Alexander epic, directed
by Baz Luhrmann, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role. A little
more than a year ago, Stone looked like an underdog.
He threw in his lot with the giant European-American production
and distribution company Intermedia, wrote a strong script, and
generally behaved as if his rivals didn't exist.
Stone's tenacity paid off. Two days before he found himself marshaling
extras on the Hanging Gardens set, the "Alexander" production
learned that the De Laurentiis-Luhrmann-DiCaprio version had fallen
through for now. He finally has a clear run at the story
and he believes that in the person of Irish actor Colin Farrell
he has the definitive Alexander.
"The competition got nasty at times," says Intermedia
Chairman Moritz Borman, speaking by phone from his office in Munich,
Germany. "Quite frankly, when we started, they had Baz Luhrmann,
who had just done 'Moulin Rouge.' Leonardo was at that time a bigger
star than Colin. I had the smaller package, so to speak. But Oliver's
script is extraordinary. So I had a screenplay. They never did.
They just had different versions."
Still, this "smaller package" comprises a budget described
by Borman as "hovering around $150 million." The film
also stars Anthony Hopkins as Ptolemy, who founded the Macedonian
dynasty in Egypt; Val Kilmer as Alexander's father, Philip; and
Angelina Jolie (in real life only a year older than Farrell) as
his mother, Olympias. Jared Leto plays Hephaistion, a Macedonian
warrior who is Alexander's closest friend. (!!!)
A mammoth operation
The production itself is conceived on a truly monumental
scale, spanning three continents. Shooting began in Morocco's deserts
and Atlas mountains in late September. Interiors were shot here
for three weeks over the Christmas-New Year period. "Alexander"
has now moved to Thailand for jungle battle scenes; the 85-day shoot
concludes early next month.
Borman likens it to "a very big road movie." A staggering
20,000 costumes have been designed. The film's armorers created
9,000 arrows, 3,000 shields, 3,000 swords, 4,000 bows, 200 cavalry
lances and 350 axes and clubs.
"In Morocco, we had close to 1,000 soldiers provided as extras
by the army," producer John Kilik recalls. "We have a
crew of about 120 here in London, but in Morocco it was up to about
500. We had 2,000 people, and 120 horses. We'd have two units going,
one with five cameras, the other with three, and Oliver going back
and forth. It's like a military operation."
Alexander intrigued Stone from their first introduction.
"When I read the Random House classic book of the 1950s, he
took my imagination. The beauty of the man, combined with his dashing
exploits and his strong parents he's fascinating material.
He had an idealism I find very rare," Stone says. "He
truly believed in the myths and executed them. He outshone Achilles
and practically matched the myths of Hercules, in his way. It's
an astounding story: a boy who followed his dreams. People don't
do that often in life, and when you find them, you want to know
Another reason Stone relished the prospect of an Alexander film
was the sheer challenge: "No one's done it. No one's written
something about Alexander's life that's remembered. There was a
bad opera. Robert Rossen, bless his soul, took it on and completely
missed it," says Stone, referring to the director's 1956 film
"Alexander the Great." "Why didn't Shakespeare try
it? Or Marlowe, or the Roman playwrights? It's bizarre."
Stone and his team have seen for themselves why Alexander's life
proves such a daunting project. "The big films I made before
were contemporary," Stone says. "With this we had to start
from scratch, make every single piece of clothing and armor, because
nothing is available. We go back 23 centuries, so whatever you need
pottery, glasses there's nothing you can get."
Even the climate has caused headaches for the production. "In
Morocco, we had sandstorms," Stone says. "To some extent,
I kept shooting through them, but we still lost 2 1/2 days out of
37 there. The key is to make it a guerrilla operation get
in and out fast."
Then there was the small matter of finance. Borman admitted that
shooting started on "Alexander" before all the money was
in place. Intermedia sold distribution rights territory by territory.
But not until Warner Bros., its U.S. distributor, also agreed to
finance the film's distribution in Britain and Italy was the project
on safe financial footing.
While getting an epic made is one thing, persuading
audiences to see it is another. Much of its success will depend
on Colin Farrell, who plays Alexander. And today he is decidedly
under the weather, with a bout of flu. Between takes he huddles
in a corner of the set, next to a heater.
Farrell has grown his dark hair to chin length and dyed it blond.
His limbs are bronzed with tanning oil. He looks the part, in a
tunic and sandals, yet there are occupational hazards with such
a costume as he drags deeply on a cigarette, ash falls on
his bare thigh and Farrell mutters an obscenity.
"Painful," he says finally. "Especially when your
legs have been shaved." But even through his illness, his enthusiasm
for "Alexander" is evident. "In the last four years
I've been lucky enough to do some big jobs," he says. "But
I've never done anything like this. It's a very noble endeavor,
this film. Alexander was a man who gained absolute power. He was
ruler of what people knew the Earth to be at that stage. He's the
original Greek tragedy, you know? He was running away from a lot,
running toward a lot and trying to find himself in the middle."
Farrell insists that Stone's script (which he based on a biography
of Alexander by British historian Robin Lane Fox) is itself a coherent
"You can never know enough, so you read 'The Iliad' and Sophocles,
you get a feeling for the gods," he says. "But Page 1
to Page 158 [of the script], that's the bible. You can just run
with what Oliver wrote and make it your own."
As for Stone, he's thrilled with his leading man. "See that?"
he said, after the day's filming. "Colin has the flu, but you
wouldn't know it. I ask him for choices with a line, and he just
adjusts it four different ways. He's so upbeat
. Oh, yeah,
and he's nasty in an Irish way. All his best lines are under his
breath. It's hard to get all that. This is a young man's story,
and what young American actor has all that?"
Farrell casts his gaze upward, around the enormous set. "Our
production designer and costume designer [Jan Roelfs and eight-time
Oscar nominee Jenny Beavan] are geniuses. They create this world,
and all you have to do is exist in it. I've seen some amazing sets,
but look at this!"
He has a point. It's an extraordinary spectacle a huge space
with pillars, columns, fountains and real hanging plants, imported
from Holland. The costumes of the extras, representing half a dozen
nationalities, are so vivid that at first glance it can give one
a sense of visual overload. The scene marks the entry into Babylon
of Alexander and his Macedonian comrades, who are greeted warmly.
But a member of the city's ruling family is concerned about how
they will be treated by these invaders, and Alexander speaks to
Intriguingly, Farrell speaks in a softer version of his own strong
Irish accent and many of the actors cast as his allies are
Irish or English. This was deliberate policy on Stone's part: "These
men were Macedonians, not cultivated Greeks, and it seemed to me
they occupied a similar position that the Irish and Scots did to
the English in the British Empire," he said.
It isn't hard to figure out why Stone was drawn to Alexander the
Great; he is fascinated by power and its exercise. He has made two
movies about U.S. presidents ("JFK" in 1991 and "Nixon"
in 1995) and his last two films, "Commandante" and "Persona
Non Grata," focused on Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat, respectively.
"One thing that comes out in this film is that the Olympic
gods start to lose their hold on man," Stone says. "Mankind
goes toward Christianity, that comes 300, 400 years later, but men
start to look for personal salvation as opposed to the Olympic gods,
who weren't enough. Alexander shows you that man can do it, become
the highest reflection of gods."
So the trick is to make a movie that reflects that ambition? Stone
By David Gritten - LA Times
14th January 2004: Filming in Thailand
Award-winning movie director Oliver Stone will begin shooting scenes
for his upcoming historical epic "Alexander" in Thailand
this week, a publicist said Wednesday. Hundreds of Thai and foreign
cast and crew members will start filming scenes Thursday for the
movie about the life of Alexander the Great, starring Colin Farrell
as the Macedonian conqueror, publicist Michael Singer said. "Alexander"
also features Hollywood heavyweights Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins
and Val Kilmer. It was not immediately known which, if any, of the
stars will be filmed in Thailand. "It is a large-scale movie.
We are shooting large-scale scenes here. We are involving elephants,"
he told The Associated Press. "We have a lot of participants,
both in front of and in back of the camera, who are Thai."
Parts of the story that take place in India will actually be shot
in Thailand, he said, adding that the shoot will end early February.
Singer refused to say exactly where in Thailand the filming would
take place, but cast members said on condition of anonymity that
the sets for "Alexander" are in the provinces of Saraburi
and Ubon Ratchathani. Saraburi is about 90 kilometers (55 miles)
north of Bangkok and Ubon Ratchathani is about 500 kilometers (300
miles) northeast of the Thai capital, near the border with neighboring
Laos. It is the final stop for the "Alexander" production
crew, which began shooting in September and has already filmed scenes
on location in Morocco and at studios near London, Singer said.
Stone wrote the film, which tells the story of the relentless conqueror
Alexander, born in 356 B.C., who assembled the largest empire the
world had ever seen by the age of 32.
Thanks to Maryp at the Collin
Farrel Fansite for this info.
12th December 2003: Farrell accidentally stabs
According to reports, Colin Farrell has accidentally stabbed his
co-star Gary Stretch while filming 'Alexander'. He punctured Stretch's
protective padding, cutting him in the stomach, during filming for
one of the climactic fight scenes. Stretch, a former boxer, was
taken to Wexham Park hospital in Slough for treatment, but has since
returned to work. Stretch said: "It was a very minor wound.
It's one of those movies where these kinds of things happen. We've
all had a few bangs and scratches."
12th December 2003: Stone's 'Alexander' sees off
Oliver Stone's version of the story of the great general Alexander
is now the only game in town after Baz Luhrmann closed down his
version. It seems Luhrmann was unable to raise the money to complete
his version of the film, which means that Oliver Stone's film is
on its own.
11th December 2003: Vangelis to write music
It would appear that Vangelis "Chariots of Fire" Papathanassiou
is to write the musical score the Oliver Stone's "Alexander"
movie. Vangelis was quoted as saying "I've always admired Oliver's
films. And, of course, Alexander the Great is a story that's a natural
part of my heritage. So, to be composing for this film with Oliver
Stone directing makes it an especially exciting experience for me".
24th November 2003: Farrell and Jolie NOT an item
Irish actor Colin Farrell has trashed reports he's dating his Alexander
co-star Angelina Jolie, even though they were reportedly spotted
kissing at a London club on Saturday night. The actor - in Britain's
capital for the premiere of new low-budget movie Intermission -
insists he went to Elisium and Annabel's with Jolie "as colleagues"
rather than lovers, and has laughed off eyewitness reports, which
claim they were passionately locking lips and flirting until 3am.
He says, "We went out for some drinks, as colleagues. Don't
most people go out for a few drinks with the people they work with?"
However, he admits Angelina - mother of adopted Cambodian son Maddox
- has inspired him to be a good father to his two-month-old son
James. He adds, "She is just gorgeous with her son. She is
amazing." But Farrell swept aside any romance worries in spectacular
style yesterday when he embarked on a 14-hour drinking spree - which
eventually ended at 7am this morning at his suite in London's Savoy
23rd November 2003: Farrell and Jolie an item
Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell are the newest and hottest couple
in showbiz. The Irish bad boy worked his charms on the Tomb Raider
beauty as they partied in London until 4am yesterday. Colin Farrell
was determined to pull Angelina from the start of the evening and
his persistence eventually paid off. By the early hours he was bumping
and grinding with the actress on the dancefloor of London hotspot
Elysium. The pair had agreed to meet at Annabelles for drinks
with their director pal Oliver Stone. Colin was turned away because
he was in jeans so he raced back to his Covent Garden hotel to change
into black trousers. He was let in and stayed just half an hour
long enough for his Irish charms to work. Colin told lush-lipped
Angelina he was off to Elysium and said she would make his night
if she joined him. Minutes later she followed in a cab. Of course,
he was waiting with champagne on ice. After a few glasses they hit
the dancefloor, leaving onlookers in no doubt as to their intentions.
One said: They were all over each other. Colin couldnt
keep his hands to himself. They looked very intimate. The chemistry
22nd November 2003: Yet another Alexander film
Ilya Salkind, a producer of the first three "Superman"
films, and Jeffrey Taylor, (2000's "What's Cooking?")
plan to produce "Macedonia's Alexander the Great" as the
first in a trilogy of films on the life and times of Hollywood's
favorite conqueror. The film will be written by Dan Skinner and
will be directed by Jalal Merhi, whose previous credits include
direct-to-video actioners "The Circuit" and "Sometimes
a Hero." This latest film, of course, should not to be confused
with Oliver Stone's "Alexander," now in production, or
with Baz Luhrmann's "Untitled Alexander the Great Project."
Aris Papadimitriou will depict Alexander's best friend, Hephaestion
(a role portrayed by Jared Leto in "Alexander") and Egypt's
Hala Sedki will play his mother, Queen Olympias (Angelina Jolie
has the part in Stone's film). Production is scheduled to begin
on February 7th in Greece and Egypt. And although no distribution
is in place, an October release is intended for "Macedonia's."
Warner Bros. Pictures intends to release Stone's film Nov. 5.
5th November 2003: Surfer Boy?
Actor Colin Farrell is enjoying playing legendary conqueror Alexander
in his epic new film but the hairdo isn't Great. Farrell, 27, who
donned gold armour for the role, claims his newly blond locks make
him look like an "effeminate surfer boy''.
22th October 2003: Angelina confused
It would appear that Angelina Jolie is a little confused about the
time lines in her new movie Alexander. Jolie is playing Alexander
The Greats mother, Olympias, in the forthcoming Oliver Stone
epic. But Jolie thinks the Greek conqueror, played by Colin Farrell,
died aged 19; he was actually 33. But the 28-year-old actress, responding
to criticism that she is too young to play the mother of 27-year-old
Farrell, said: "I play Alexander's mother when he's seven and
I age through the movie, though he was quite young when he died,
about 19. So it's not like his mother was that old by the end. She's
20th October 2003: Blondes don't have all the fun
Movie wildman Colin Farrell is fed up with his new blonde hairdo
- because women seem to disapprove. The actor has had his hair dyed
for new movie Alexander, and can't wait to get his original colour
back. A source says, "Colin can't wait to get rid of the blonde
hair because he thinks it makes him look like an effeminate surfer
boy. He says he gets more attention from gay men than women, and
has taken to going out with a hat on."
14th October 2003: Angelina quits hotel over flashing
Angelina Jolie has stormed out of a hotel, apparently disgusted
at the debauched antics of wildman Colin Farrell. The Hollywood
actress was fed up with her hard-drinking co-star after he repeatedly
dropped his trousers during binges. A film insider was quoted as
saying: "He was always getting his bits out when he'd had a
few, so we nicknamed him C*** out Colin. We thought it was hilarious
but Angelina didn't." The stunning actress checked out of the
Le Meridien hotel in Marrakesh, Morocco, taking her adopted Vietnamese
son Maddox with her. Soon afterwards Farrell upset hotel staff by
stubbing out cigarettes on the furniture. He has now also moved
to another hotel.
7th October 2003: Ian Beattie to play Antiginous
Ian Beattie ( Caught red Handed, Observe the Sons of Ulster) has
been cast by Oliver Stone as Antiginous, Alexander's friend.
7th October 2003: Stone gives Alexander progress
Oliver Stone and Colin Farrell provoked a media scrum Monday night
as they arrived at the Marrakech International Film Festival to
talk up the Alexander the Great epic, which Stone is shooting just
outside the city. Stone said he was happy with progress so far on
the shoot of "Alexander," with Irishman Farrell in the
title role as the Macedonian king. "Knock on wood, it's going
very well," he said. "We're on schedule and on budget.
The weather's been a little tricky, with sandstorms and rain that
surprised us. But we're pushing on." The director said Morocco
was the key location for "Alexander," which will later
move to Thailand for scenes involving elephants and England for
6th October 2003: Producer Thomas Schuhly has been
talking about Alexander
German producer Thomas Schuhly has been talking about Alexander.
He says that two weeks have been completed. "We're shooting
for 87 days, which must be some kind of record. We've built huge
sets, and we had literally trains full of props," the producer
said, promising some of the biggest battle scenes ever seen on the
2nd October 2003: Kilmer looking forward to working
with Angelina Jolie
Actor Val Kilmer is thoroughly excited about going to Morocco to
shoot scenes for the epic Alexander - mainly because Angelina Jolie
is his co-star. Despite the May 2003 bombings in Casablanca which
killed 44 people and drastically reduced the number of film productions
taking place in the North African country, Kilmer is undeterred
about starring in the epic alongside Collin Farrell. He says, "I'm
not worried about going there at all. I'm really excited. Angelina
Jolie is playing my wife, and I really think that she's such a genius."
Kilmer is due to arrive in Morocco this month (October) for filming
which is scheduled to conclude at the beginning of next year.
26th September 2003: Val Kilmer concentrates on
Val Kilmer, who was to have played a leading role in director Michael
Mann 's Tom Cruise thriller "Collateral" has left the
project in favour of Oliver Stone 's "Alexander". Although
Kilmer had been in negotiations to star for Mann, his role in Intermedia's
Alexander the Great project, which is filming, left him unable to
do both projects at the same time. The role he was to have played
in "Collateral" is open.
22nd September 2003: Shooting to begin
Variety reports that shooting begins tomorrow on Oliver Stone's
ancient epic, starting with a re-enactment of the Battle of Guagamela
in 331 BC which marked Alexander's troops ending the rule of Persia.
"I figured that killing somebody right away is a good way to
break the ice," Stone says. The fate of Intermedia now rests
on this film, the production company spending between $150-200 million
on the project making it the largest independent European production
ever attempted. Shooting will continue in Morocco through until
early November, then will move to London's Pinewood Studios for
two months, followed by a short stint in Thailand in January where
it will wrap. Of the competing Luhrmann project, which won't turn
a first draft in for a few weeks yet, Intermedia man Moritz Borman
says "I'm long past caring about them. If Leo wants to play
Alexander the Second Great, that's fine, and if somebody figures
it is wise to spend $170 million or so to do another picture on
Alexander before seeing ours, they should. I've seen stupider decisions".
In regards to the bisexual aspect Stone says "We won't overplay
his sexuality or underplay it. But it is an important part of Alexander,
a part of his life" whilst Borman hints at nothing controversial
- "It is a minor aspect. I told Warner Bros., 'There's nothing
you wouldn't see on 'Will & Grace'". The two are also happy
that "Troy" next Summer will serve as a precursor of sorts
to their film when it opens on Thanksgiving.
9th September 2003: Val Kilmer to play King Philip
Variety reports that Val Kilmer is set to reteam with Oliver Stone
for this biopic, playing Macedonian King Philip - father to Alexander
(Colin Farrell). Shooting begins November 10th in Morocco and will
wrap in January in Thailand.
8th September 2003: Scott earns his porridge
PORRIDGE hunk Rory McCann is being paid $1million to star as Alexander
The Great's right-hand man in Oliver Stone's new epic. The strapping
6ft 6in Scots actor was cast after the director spotted him stripped
to his vest in a TV ad for Scott's Porridge Oats. Rory will be working
alongside Irish star Colin Farrell, who will play the great warrior,
Angelina Jolie who plays Alexander's mum, Jared Leto and Sir Anthony
Hopkins. Rory starred in Channel 4's The Book Group as wheelchair-bound
Kenny. Stone is responsible for classics like The Doors, JFK and
Nixon. His movie, called simply Alexander, is one of two blockbusters
about the conqueror out next year. Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann's
Alexander The Great stars Leonardo Di Caprio. Rory is undergoing
intensive training in a Moroccan boot camp alongside Farrell to
get in shape for the film. His agent Christian Hodell said: "It
is a massive breakthrough for him.'' Both films will focus on his
rampant sex life of the Greek-Macedonian warrior, who conquered
much of the ancient world by the age of 28 and died aged 33.
1st August 2003: Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell
only share one scene
Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell will only appear in one scene together.
"It's kind of a cruel twist of fate," Farrell says of
the casting. "I'm getting to work with Angelina, and she's
playing my mother. I've only got one scene with her where I'm 18,
so I've got to make sure I get a good night of sleep so I have no
bags". Angelina is 28 and Colin is 27 so being his mother when
he is older is not a realistic possibility.
30th July 2003: Colin Farrell sore from riding
Preparation for his current film role has left Hollywood badboy
Colin Farrell with severe pain in his pants. The Irish star was
getting into character for his role as historical legend Alexander
The Great, and injured his groin while honing his bareback horse-riding
skills. Colin groans, "I had to ride bareback, which is something
I haven't done before. It's a pain in the b*****ks, literally a
pain in the balls. "I have a really sore scrotum. They had nothing
in those days so we have had to do the same. And that means no saddles
30th July 2003: Jared Leto to play Alexander's
Jared Leto, who starred in Panic Room, has joined the cast of Oliver
Stone's Alexander. Leto will play Hephaestion, Alexander's top general
and his lifelong companion. The role was originally offered to Brad
Pitt but apparently wife Jennifer Aniston made him turn it down
as she didnt think it would be good for his image.
28th July 2003: Rosario Dawson to play Roxane
Rosario Dawson, who appeared alongside Tommy Lee Jones and Will
Smith in Men In Black II, has signed on to join the cast of Alexander.
Dawson will play Roxanne, who was Alexander the Great's first wife.
22nd July 2003: Angelina Jolie joins the cast
Variety reports that Angelina Jolie has signed on to join Colin
Farrell in Alexander. In the film, which will be directed by Oliver
Stone, Jolie will play Olympias, Alexander's mother from his childhood
through his reign as the king.
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